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The Perfect Getaway: A long weekend in Cancun at an all-inclusive resort

Sea breezes, hanging poolside, fresh seafood and plenty of entertainment make an all-inclusive stay the ideal beach getaway to play all day — and all night.

By Alina Dizik | March 13, 2024

For some visitors, simply spotting Cancun from the air signals the start of the perfect escape as the Yucatan Peninsula beckons with its white sand and turquoise water. With music blasting right outside the airport’s arrival gate, it doesn’t take long to fully embrace vacation mode. Luckily, some of the world’s best all-inclusive resorts are only a 20-minute drive away. Here’s what you can expect from a long weekend in Cancun:

  • Dive in: From the pools to the beach, there’s no shortage of water fun

  • Taste the town: Local twists on Mexican specialties are a must for food enthusiasts

  • Learn local history: Visit some of Mexico’s most fascinating Mayan ruins

Friday

Morning

Arrive in paradise.

Welcome to Cancun! Grab your bags and head straight to Hilton Cancun Mar Caribe All-Inclusive Resort, your home away from home for the long weekend. Once there, take advantage of the resort amenities, starting with a stellar breakfast. Tropical fruit smoothies, made-to-order eggs and live-cooking stations take center stage at Vela, one of the resort’s eight dining options, and are sure to please all your travel companions.

Afternoon

Embrace playtime.

Settle into your room and enjoy sea views from your balcony or, if you’ve booked a first-floor room, take a dip in your private plunge pool. Heading to the resort’s 600-foot-long (182-meter-long) white-sand beach is always a good idea, too. Kiddos in tow? The resort’s thoughtfully curated kids and teen clubs are a sure bet to keep them entertained. If hunger hits after all that play, stop by Azulinda, the resort’s all-day coffee shop with sandwiches and sweet pastries that make for the perfect midday treat.

Evening

Dine in style.

With so many exciting dining options available to guests, deciding where to eat each evening may be the only tough decision you’ll have to make all week. A must-try: ristorante-styled La Luce for Italian cuisine and Mediterranean flavors. As the sun sets, sit back and enjoy the evening entertainment that often includes colorful costumes, interactive performances and plenty of cocktails.

Saturday

Morning

Explore the area’s natural beauty.

For a quick breakfast, grab coffee and sandwiches from Azulinda, then head out to explore the area’s glistening blue-green cenotes. The freshwater sinkholes, born from collapsing limestone across the peninsula, offer the perfect setting for snorkeling, swimming or even scuba diving. You can get close to the stalactite and stalagmite formations that took shape over millions of years, and some tours even take visitors beyond the freshwater pools into a network of pre-historic subterranean caves.

Afternoon

Relax and unwind.

Refuel back at the resort with a choice of burgers, tacos, pizza and more at the casual poolside eatery Seasalt. Afterward, treat yourself to a massage that incorporates traditional Mexican healing herbs and will leave you feeling balanced and rejuvenated. Stick around the spa to complete the refreshing hydrotherapy circuit which includes a steam room, sauna and plunge pools.

Evening

Light up the night.

Start your evening with dinner at Noriku, which offers Asian-inspired plates, including fresh sushi rolls, in a sleek setting. The restaurant’s entertaining teppanyaki-style cooking — with plenty of chopping and throwing — is a sure bet to keep everyone in your party engaged. Check the schedule for the nightly entertainment shows so you can continue the fun after dinner.

Sunday

Morning

Get centered.

Start your day in downward dog at beginner-friendly yoga or hit the 24/7 gym to clock in your steps. With a host of exercise classes available to guests, use the morning to get your adrenaline pumping in fun ways. After your workout, head back to the room and enjoy a full breakfast on your balcony or terrace. The hotel’s room service offers an extensive round-the-clock menu, giving you the ideal excuse to chill.

Afternoon

Cool off.

Settle under a private beach umbrella before ducking out for a swim. Thrill-seekers who prefer to be on the water can reserve a boat or kayak to explore the nearby Nichupté Lagoon, a massive natural reserve made up of fresh and saltwater lakes. If you’re traveling as a family, head to the kids' pool with slippery slides and games. Feeling peckish? Stop by Seasalt for a quick bite in the shade before heading back out to play.

Evening

Savor exquisite flavors.

Kick off the evening with a drink at Chala, the resort’s rooftop terrace bar overlooking the sea. The intimate space offers appetizers, DJ beats under the stars and specialty cocktails, typically made from the fresh nectar of local fruit. If you’re dressed to impress, you’ll want to grab a late dinner at Flama STK, a modern steakhouse with perfectly aged prime cuts and an expansive wine list accompanied by live music.

Monday

Morning

Tour local sights.

Spend the cooler hours of the day exploring nearby Chichén Itzá, one of Mexico’s most important archaeological sites. These ancient Mayan ruins, also listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, are made up of several buildings. The most impressive is El Castillo, or Temple of Kukulkan, a four-sided pyramid with 365 steps for every day of the year. The pre-Hispanic archeological site, which was once a Mayan city, also includes a circular observatory, a Warriors temple and a ballcourt.

Afternoon

Relax poolside.

Back at the resort, you can lounge by the pool while sipping refreshing drinks or pick up a quick snack from the resort’s Grab & Go market. The sprawling pool areas offer a mix of lounge furniture perfect for relaxation. Want to keep moving? The resort offers a range of entertaining activities including water aerobics, Zumba, water volleyball and other splash-worthy options to try.

Evening

Feast on local cuisine.

For your last evening in paradise, take your taste buds on a tour of Mexican cuisine at Maxal. At this sleek restaurant, the chefs prepare innovative takes on traditional dishes from nearly every region of Mexico. Afterward, take in the resort’s famed fire-dancing show or boogie down at a silent disco to enjoy a fun party with the noise vibes on mute.

Tuesday

Morning

Spend time on the beach.

It’s travel day so be sure to fuel up for the journey home with a big buffet breakfast at Vela. If you have some time on your hands before departure, head to the beach for a post-breakfast swim. With water temperatures typically hovering in the 80s F (high 20s C), you might as well soak up a final dose of vitamin sea.

Afternoon

Enjoy family time.

Before leaving Cancun, make more memories with your crew by enjoying some family bonding time at the resort’s cozy Family Room, which features a large supply of board games, movies and more. If time allows, consider a pre-flight Swedish massage at the spa to truly unwind before heading to the airport.

Until next time!

Bid farewell.

Between exploring the pristine white-sand beaches, sampling fresh cuisine and enjoying your time in and out of the water, spending a long weekend in Cancun always feels too short. Make the most of your time by staying at a beachfront all-inclusive where you can enjoy the best of all worlds without worrying about going over budget. With thousands of flights from U.S. cities to Cancun, there’s no doubt you’ll be back for another adventure soon.

Alina Dizik is a veteran lifestyle journalist, covering travel, real estate, family, work trends and dining. Her work appears in The Wall Street Journal, BBC, The Cut, The Guardian and other top publications. She lives in Chicago and has spent time living in New York, Europe and the Middle East. She spends more than two months each year traveling internationally with her husband and two school-age children. She has visited more than 50 countries.

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